I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.


    **Nothing is exempt from resurrection

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    Fabien

    Posts : 179
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    **Nothing is exempt from resurrection

    Post  Fabien on Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:48 pm

    I.

    The piazza was styled in deception, framed by classical colonnades which were incongruous with its reputation for crime and depravity. Here the high and low mingled freely and uneasily. In one corner, students lingered on benches, discussing the latest political pamphlets which were waved in the air.  Just to their side, a worried preacher stood trying to entice damned souls to recant their sins. The desperate were numerous, some with injuries real and aching. Others with fake limbs, and eye patches cut with small holes, all the better to spy a poorly guarded coin purse.

    The young and naive were especially vulnerable in this part. Nervous tourists could be easily picked out, wandering through the fray like stray lambs. And the petulantly wealthy were never far behind, wafting exquisitely crafted fans like wings of exotic birds.

    This was their hunting ground.

    They were huddled together in the cool shadows of a pillar. Both young, though it was hard to tell exactly how young. Like many urchins, their features had been hardened by the streets. But their eyes were as bright as hungry wolves.

    “He in new, then? Another fresh from the countryside?” The girl enquired, shifting a cloth bundle from her the curve of her hip to the floor between her feet. She was olive skinned, with dark hair that fell heavily to her waist.  She was dressed in cheap fabric dyed in vibrantly colours, in shabby purples, faded reds and blues which stood out starkly against her skin.

    “Non, I do not think so. From another part of the city, perhaps.” The boy at her side replied, rolling his thin shoulders dismissively. He was lean and dark haired, his expression sullen. His clothing was simple and inconspicuous, riddled with holes and stained at the cuffs with something that might have been blood.

    “How long do you think he will last then, Jehan?” The girl whispered eagerly, her eyes shining with a mischievous inner light. “Shall we make a bet?”

    “Three days.” He replied flatly.  

    “Ach, two low! Give him some credit.” She hissed, digging her companion in the ribs with the point of her elbow.

    “A week, then.” He replied thoughtfully, and began to step away. “And if I win, you wash my clothes for just as long.”

    The girl wrinkled her nose in disgust, waving him away like a tiresome insect.

    ”If not your clothes, I’ll be washing your blood off the street if you are not more careful!” She called out as the boy disappeared from sight.

    Then her attention returned to the square. There, in the far distance, was the source of their mutual interest. He was dressed in dark, dramatic clothes, sharp blacks and whites. To his left, a simple table had been erected, covered in a faded cloth. He might have gone unnoticed, were it not for his pale hair, which seemed to soak up gold from the sun. He would not have looked out of place on a church mural, a triumphant angel clutching a spear with dark, proud eyes.

    Daima could not see his act from where she stood, but she could hear the effect he was having on his growing audience.  How a quiet hush fell about him, broken by soft gasps and sighs that rose like the sea caressing the shore.

    The girl sighed, bending to collect the bundle at her feet before she made her entry into the centre of square. Her movements were like that of a dancer, hips swaying in such a way that made her skirts swirl fluidly around her feet. That graceful gait changed, became distorted by a tender limp, delicately pronounced and pitiful. Today she would perform the role of innocent flower seller, calling out with a husky, throaty voice.


    II.

    Three days passed in this way.

    The boy did well for himself for the first two. He had seemed almost luminous with life then, his laughter cutting through the noise of the crowd. But on the third day, his fortunes had changed; such were the way of things. The crowds were notoriously fickle, always hungry for some new curiosity. One week a chained bear taking sweet meats from a beautiful girl, or a sad eyed monkey dancing through hoops of flame.

    The girl could see from how the desperation had started to emerge like rot. There was a tremble in the boy’s fingers. And his voice, once strong and enigmatic, had started to crack, strained with exertion. Even now, his crowd was receding.

    “He is very good at concealing it, isn’t he? The hunger, the fear. Don’t you think?” She said softly.

    Her companion, who had previously been in the process of picking at his nails, glanced across at the card trick boy. He shrugged disinterestedly, but then his eyes suddenly grew wide. He seized the girl’s thin arm, and shook her roughly, as though he hoped to dislodge her thoughts.

    “Non. Non! I can see your mind at work. Not again, Daima. I am not splitting food! ” He hissed.

    The girl did not turn to look at him. Her expression was as sharp and calculating as a fox.

    “But don’t you see? How quickly his fingers move? How easily he lures them in when they stop a while?”


    III.

    On the fifth day, the boy conjurer did not emerge on their streets.

    Jehan offered his prediction.  That he was dead, murdered in his sleep, his small fortune stolen. His words had caused the girl’s heart to sink heavy as a stone within her chest.

    But then one night, there he was.

    Daima saw him through the smoke of their local inn, tucked away in a dingy corner. He looked painfully thin, his flesh stretched over his finely shaped bones. His dark eyes were sunken, and so red they look bloodied. He was also hopelessly drunk, and in dangerous company. There were two of them, dressed in silks, with dirty wigs eschew upon their crowns. They circled him like a shark tasting blood.

    “Ha! And it is not even a week in.” Jehan snorted, following her gaze to where the pale haired boy sat.  “No doubt they will find use for the precious hands too.”

    “Cruel, Jehan.”  The girl scolded. She was unable to mask her delight, her pulse a frantic flutter in her chest.

    The boy laughed, leaning back in his chair as he lifted a tankard of cheap beer to his lips. “Why? It is easy money.” It was spoken in jest, but the boy’s smile wavered soon after the words had left his tongue. His expression darkened then, like a candle pinched between fingertips. When he turned to look at the girl again, she had gone.

    Jehan swore under his breath.

    He watched as Damia materialised at the boy’s side, her arms slipping around his thin neck. He watched as she turned her mouth to whisper some brazen suggestion into a gentlemen’s ear. Her lips shaping words that were low and sultry, as all the while she caressed the card trick boy’s arm. She was met with excited, crooning approval by the gentlemen of quality. And then her mouth was brushing the boy’s cheek, as she pulled him away with her like a tethered goat.

    In his disoriented state, it seemed the boy was easily led at first. Until something seemed to enrage him, and he struck out at her, breaking free with a vicious tug of his arm. His red ringed eyes were as fierce as hot coals.

    He had slipped from her then, stumbling out beyond the door, and into the awaiting night.


    IIII.

    It was by chance that Fabien appeared in the shadow of their favourite haunt. The boy had staggered beneath the colonnades, seeking shelter from the onslaught of ceaseless rain. His fingertips were so purple with cold they looked bruised.

    On the floor, with skull bent forward, the first thing he noticed was her bare toes approaching him.

    “There are better ways you know, then what you had planned.” She said softly, and something about the half concealed tenderness in her voice made boy’s blood simmer in his veins.  

    He ignored her pointedly, rolling a coin between fingers which were clumsy and swollen with cold.

    “You are good, I have been watching. Where did you learn?” She pressed, clasping her arms behind her back.

    She was greeted with hard silence at first, and then a terse response.

    Mon grand-père m'a appris.”The boy lifted his head, his wet hair clinging to the curve of his gaunt cheek. His eyes were as hostile as they had been the night before. Hunger could be dangerous in that way, it was not an unfamiliar sight.

    “I could show you some different tricks, if you wanted. They may help. ” She offered softly.

    The dark eyes narrowed, and the boy looked away.

    “Not interested? La honte. Peu importe.” She replied, sighing theatrically as she turned away.

    He watched, his eyes following the sway of her ragged, mud encrusted skirts. There was gold glimmering on her ankle.

    “Wait. Quelle est la capture?” He croaked weakly.

    The girl turned in a swirl of material, offering a wide smile that was marred only by a missing incisor. She skipped back toward him, before offering a strong, rough hand. She smelt just as she had that night, of smoke and spices covering unwashed skin. And when her sleeve slipped back from her arm, swirls of sea green ink patterned her forearm. Her eyes were bright with joy.

    “Come with me, we will talk some more.” She waited for his cold hand to accept hers, and then hauled him to his feet.  

    “My name is Daima.”

      Current date/time is Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:51 pm